Lipstick Does TOO Matter!

Got your attention, didn’t I? Good. Keep reading. And this ain’t gonna be one of those fashion-y cosmetic review blogs, either.

What does lipstick have to do with anything? Oh, just let me tell you. Remember yesterday’s resolution update? The one that I thought I could manage – Zumba, Pilates or yoga for 40-45 minutes four or five times a week?

Yeah. That one. Day one and I’m kind of miffed. Because my time management – at which I’ve always been pretty good, or at least pretty organized – is being affected by something totally out of my control. Know what it is?

Expectations of Women in the Workplace.

Let me get this straight – this is nothing new. Granted, my current office is more Mad Men than The Office. But thinking back to my very first teaching job brings up a couple of things I forgot to mention in my ‘Schooled’ posts. Gotta write these down for the book too!

My Very First Teaching Job was a dream. Excellent school, excellent neighborhood, supportive families, fantastic administration and a building full of overachieving teachers. What more could I ask for?? But one thing that anyone new to the building learned really quick was the Head Honcho’s pet peeve. And that, my friends, was teachers looking anything less than completely put together. Yes, she was older – and had been in education since the days of female teachers’ wearing pants was frowned upon. (Trust me, that wasn’t all that long ago. My mom worked in the library at my elementary school back in the ’80s, and she remembers the staff keeping their distance from one teacher who called herself ‘Ms.’ and wore slacks occasionally. Fast woman!!)

Back to the point – anyway, this particular Head Honcho’s idea of teachers looking completely put together included the One Necessary Touch – lipstick. Lipstick in the morning and – especially – after lunch. If she saw you in the hall during the afternoon and your lips weren’t freshly colored and dewy – you’d get The Look. And if The Look didn’t get you instantly fumbling to refresh your pucker – and if you got caught again looking unkempt – you’d get a nicely worded gentle reminder note in your mailbox. You can imagine how many notes I got the semester I was on Accutane and my lips were literally peeling off my face. And THAT was in the era when really dark lipstick was the fashion.

Yes, I’m serious. No, I’m not joking. And I can’t have made it up either. Get a group of teachers from that school together and we all have one thing in common – we ALL refresh our lipstick to this day after lunch. It’s a habit. We can’t all be that neurotic on our own. And for someone like me, with my music background, that’s no minor feat.

See, as a Wind Player, lipstick was verboten. Absolutely. Chapstick, on the other hand, was a requirement – especially after hours of rehearsal during the blustery, cold and sometimes snowy North Texas winter months. We obsessed over it. Chapstick was a requirement, but the stuff that really worked – Carmex – was an absolute NO. There was some weird urban legend that the stuff was addictive, could make the chapping worse due to withdrawal, and should be avoided at all costs. By graduation I can’t even tell you how many industrial-sized tubs of Vaseline I’d gone through out of necessity. The Spouse could probably joke about our early married days and budget arguments about my Vaseline expenditures. Seriously. So you can imagine how much of a stretch it was to actually WEAR lipstick, much less refresh the stuff.

How does this have anything to do with my fitness goals? It’s simple. Today’s work environment – at least mine – still has pretty set-in-stone expectations about how a woman should look in the workplace. And for me, that takes a while. I’m NOT one of those lucky chicks who can go to bed with wet hair, wake up and shake it out, dab on some mascara and zip out the door. Looking presentable requires lots of time and effort. I’m ‘blessed’ with hair that every stylist I’ve visited in the last decade calls ‘uniquely textured.’ Translated, that means that it’s naturally curly underneath and a frizzy disaster on top that’s neither wavy or straight. And it’s really thick. My Hairntervention hasn’t worked. So just looking decent requires a good blowdry session followed by Chi torture. And then more Chi torture. Makeup and lipstick add more time.

Look, I’m a mom. I already get up at five AM just to look decent, dress appropriately and spend some time being mom, wife and getting the minions out the door to the bus. If I want to work out in the morning, I’d have to be like the guy on the radio right now that I absolutely want to punch in the throat. He rambles on about how the only time he can work out is at three AM and his miracle solution is some random energy shot drink. Three AM?? I’d be a zombie by noon, and I have to work until six.

Evenings are a problem too. Most nights I get home around seven – and need to be wife and mom again for a while. Working out on the way home would mean that I’d see the minions for about five minutes before they got to bed. That’s a no-go in my book. But if I try to work out after they’re in bed my body gets so ramped up on endorphins that I can’t sleep, which makes looking decent the next day a huge problem.

See my dilemma? And don’t go all feminist on me by saying that I should just screw the makeup and hair and let myself be judged by my performance in the workplace. Sounds good in theory, but reality is different. Your competence in business really is determined – at least in the Mad Men building in which I work – by appearance. Granted, the Girls Down the Hall have taken that to a new extreme. Forget VPL – they specialize in VTL. Visible Thong Line. But in my office, it’s ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have.’ Rule set in stone. Period.

And conforming to those expectations doesn’t – in my opinion – make me less of an empowered woman, less intelligent or more of a conformist. It’s called having goals and ambition – and doing what I need to do in order to achieve my goals and move forward.

But working out?? I’m desperate here – suggestions please!!

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1 Comment

Filed under Fitness, goals, New Year's Resolutions, Pilates, working moms, Yoga, Zumba

One response to “Lipstick Does TOO Matter!

  1. yup, I hear you. years in the gym…now a mommy and a career. the workouts have gone to the waste side. just this week I decided I could pick up the weights while he watches his bedtime tv show. i am there with him… and being productive int he background. cardio…weekends only. a tough balance but 'mommy' is more impt right now. as long as I dont neglect myself too much eventually one day… I will get back to it all.

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